A Space Odyssey and Moby Dick

June 30, 2001

I have just finally seen 2001: A Space Odyssey and I’m just finally reading Moby Dick. I have recently begun reading the books and seeing the movies that seem to have a certain cultural significance by the amount of times I have heard or seen them referenced. In short, I am reading the books everyone read in high school and seeing the movies everyone saw in high school.

What I have found humorous in Moby Dick is this passage spoken by the head of a rowboat trying to catch up to a whale:

“Start her, start her, my men! Don’t hurry yourselves; take plenty of time—but start her; start her like thunder-claps, that’s all,” cried Stubb, spluttering out the smoke as he spoke.
“Start her, now give ’em the long and strong stroke, Tashtego. Start her, Tash, my boy—start her, all—but keep cool, keep cool—cucumbers is the word—easy, easy—only start her like grim death and grinning devils, and raise the buried dead perpendicular out of their graves, boys—that’s all. Start her!”


Life, Literature